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Reclamation of Identity Manifesto

The "Reclamation of Identity Manifesto," was presented at the Rock Tree Sky Learning Community 2023 graduation. This manifesto poses thoughtful questions, and reflects on Self-Directed Education. It offers principles of liberation—Direct Action, Mutual Aid, Subsistence, Refused Loyalty Bargaining, and Self Governance—as pathways to authenticity and autonomy. It challenges norms and beckons readers to embrace life's mysteries. We are invited to ponder our beingness, sparking a journey towards radical self-discovery and liberation. It emerged from the 2022-2023 Anarchist Book Club created by a group of RTS teens. Posted with the authors' permission.

Sequoia smiling, Nevaeh reading the manifesto in an outdoor setting with trees rocks and grass behind them.  Caption: "Reclamation of Identity Manifesto," was presented at the Rock Tree Sky 2023 graduation. This manifesto poses the radical question: What are we doing here?
Written and read by Sequoia Iolani Lynch RTS'23 and Neveah Valesquez Regino RTS'23. "Reclamation of Identity Manifesto," was presented at the Rock Tree Sky 2023 graduation. It poses thoughtful questions.

Reclamation of Identity Manifesto

Writen by Sequoia Iolani Lynch RTS'23 and Neveah Valesquez Regino RTS'23

What are we doing here?

Maybe we're here to graduate, to gain respect and validation, follow tradition, accomplish a goal, to work, to find fulfillment, figure out how to make ends meet, survive, to study, learn something new, expand our minds, find out who we are and what we like? What are we doing here? We don't know...for certain.

But not knowing, not wanting to know, it's freeing. It's honest and important. No degree, nor accolade, no accomplishments can predict the future. The world is ours to interpret, eternally subjective, and experimental. Renouncing the need to know becomes a profound moment of realization that life is a mystery and that's not a bad thing. To embrace the mystery doesn't make us wrong, damned or doomed, it's just a fact of life, maybe the only one. Not knowing drives curiosity, it encourages us to think freely and critically, to accept paradox with compassion, and to form diverse perspectives. It equips us with the tools to navigate the complexities of the world, to discern truth from falsehood, and to uncover the underlying layers of reality. This liberated approach to authentic education- self-led, collaborative, creative, extends far beyond personal development. It fuels innovation, propels social progress, and fosters a more benevolent and inclusive society. By nurturing our innate curiosity we awaken a thirst for lifelong learning, encouraging us to delve into diverse subjects, expand our intellectual horizons, and discover new passions. Free thinkers challenge the status quo, pushing the boundaries of human knowledge and igniting the flames of positive change. We reject the notion that education is a means to an end, a tool to be wielded in service of a capitalist society. We reclaim the ways of knowing and learning that have been taken from us—the innate intelligence that lies within all humans. We have removed the mediator, the authority that has taken upon itself the power to dictate what we can and cannot learn, what does and does not have value. That ceaseless worry about time, the fear of running out—it’s an illusion, and we will not allow it to consume our entire being. The future is forever shrouded in uncertainty, but it holds the promise of independence, an opportunity to dance to the rhythm of our own desires, perhaps even becoming specialists in our chosen paths. Here at Rock Tree Sky, we've learned some principles that have helped us let go of expectation, of validation, of the need to know. Principles that have granted us the freedom to explore a life of excitement and connection. Do you want to learn what they are?

Direct Action:

When we see a problem or challenge, we do something about it. Our theories are also our practices. We know when and how to act. Regardless of age, we are all as much teachers as students. If we want to learn something, we make it happen. Before Rock Tree Sky, many of us would neglect the burdensome stress of conventional education, and the drain of unresolved issues, lacking the desire to confront and address them. Yet, through the journey of self-directed learning, a voice emerged within us—a voice unafraid to speak up and offer solutions. We were no longer bound by concerns of judgment or criticism, but rather encouraged to connect to our inner selves and our unique understanding of what is right and wrong. Sadly, many individuals choose to remain on the sidelines, bystanders to the mistreatment of others, reluctant to engage in confrontation or extend empathy. While it is true that certain matters may not be our business, there are moments when we must courageously ask, "Bro, what are you doing?" Armed with a tactical mindset and the ability to collaborate with like minded individuals, we've cultivated the willpower to resist oppressive forces and devise strategic plans. We view the world through open eyes, acknowledging the difference between senseless conflict and purposeful direct action.

Mutual Aid:

We care for one another as integral to the success of our lives. We know that working together is the mark of value. Mutual aid paves the way to a better world by nurturing interconnectivity. It fosters a sense of agency and empowerment, breaking the chains of dependency to form a culture of active participation. Mutual aid nurtures a profound sense of collective ownership, dismantling the notion of passive recipients. Here at Rock Tree Sky we cultivate a community where everyone has a stake in the well-being of all. We've learned that teamwork empowers us to meet our own needs, sparking the cultivation of shared resources. This is true sustainability, enabling people to live more economically and ecologically conscious lives. Our future will be one where we merge our knowledge, skills, and resources with others to create a network of interdependence that transcends traditional power structures, where we can remain free thinkers who do not need to know in order to survive.


We embrace the mantra of meeting needs, not feeding greed. Wisdom surpasses knowledge, less is more. By lightening our burdens, we deepen our connection to what truly matters. At Rock Tree Sky we have discovered that excess does not equate to fulfillment, and we gently remind one another to take only what is essential. In our world, profit is defined by the treasures of wisdom, cherished memories, and inner motivation. Finding contentment in what we already possess envelops us in a comforting warmth that permeates our minds, bodies, and spirits. The art of a well-lived life lies in caring for oneself and savoring moments with loved ones, for it is in these simple joys that true fulfillment resides. Our work and labor drive our livelihood and happiness, liberating us from the clutches of the capitalist system that fails to define our true worth.

Refused Loyalty Bargaining:

We set clear and non-negotiable boundaries with bureaucracy. We do not appeal to state systems for validation, nor self worth. Our beingness is our validation, no matter if that makes us outliers. Our identities are built from within, and strengthened through the encouragement of community and nature—the more than human world. We know why and when to say 'No, because our boundaries are rooted in self generated principles. Here at Rock Tree Sky, we see refused loyalty bargaining in action daily, through the resistance of hierarchical teaching and learning. When a student says 'No' it's not perceived as a form of disobedience, and suggestions are sincere invitations to collaborate, not demands masked as propositions. This kind of learning environment encourages us to forge a path to success on our own terms, prioritizing our genuine selves above the external demands of systems and culture. There will be moments in our lives where we must reject the compromise of our creative integrity for mere approval—we are prepared to meet those moments.

Self Governance:

At the core of a successful life lies the radical act of reclaiming control over our own existence. No one possesses a better understanding of our innermost desires and passions than ourselves. By advocating for what truly ignites our souls, we embark on a journey of self governance, navigating the world with authenticity as our north star: We make choices based on our own well-being, not beholden to the whims of state systems. Rock Tree Sky has nurtured within us a profound sense of independence, a knowledge that we can rely on ourselves for our most fundamental needs. This kind of self-reliance has given us a confidence derived not from material acquisitions but from an unwavering belief in our own abilities. By making our own calls to action, we remain steadfast in our personal journey despite the noise of systemic distractions. Yet, we also recognize the value of reaching out and seeking guidance when faced with uncertainty. In this dance between self-reliance and communal exchange, we embrace the mystery.

So, what are we doing here?

So, what are we doing here? It's the wrong question. To remain free, we ask ourselves something different: How are we being here? How are we living in this moment? How are we meeting the eyes of the friends and family we love? Showing gratitude for the food on our table? Smiling at the sun? Embracing loss and imperfection as par for the course? Valuing connection over happiness, meaning over material? Caring for unity within individuality? Dancing like nobody's watching? Slowing down to enjoy this moment, this life? Watching bees collect pollen? The seasons change? The rise and fall of the river bank? Reading books? Waiting for food to grow? The magic? The mystery? Doing nothing as devotion, as being? Playing? Playing in the woods? Playing with the water? Playing with kids, with life? With music? Beating to the rhythm of your own drum? How are we being here? To answer this question makes life a transformative journey, a radical path to liberation, a profound rites of passage, a rebellion against conformity. It abandons the kind of achievements that make the family appear honorable—honorable in a shallow world. Because our future will venture into a realm where authenticity reigns. Where embracing our true identity reveals our innate talents, passions, and strengths, and where success is defined on our own terms.

Written by Sequoia Iolani Lynch RTS'23 and Neveah Valesquez Regino RTS'23

Video of Sequoia and Nevaeh reading the manifesto.



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